“If there had only been more black women in the class. Maybe just five of us.”

This video of some of the 33 Black students (joined at times by other minority students) at UCLA law school (1100 students) is wrenching.

In light of the Dunn verdict (and in the shadow, always, of the Zimmerman verdict), I find this chilling. How can American minorities ever hope to have fair and equal representation in a law that seems to exclude them from both sides?

I hope that UCLA law takes this as a teachable moment and works hard to recruit a more diverse student body in future years, and to create a safe space for every student right now. They can react with “how DARE you call me racist” sensitivity–which makes it all about them and worsens the problem–or they can work to help. I hope you’ll join me in exerting a some pressure on UCLA to make the right choice.

4 thoughts on ““If there had only been more black women in the class. Maybe just five of us.”

  1. Thank you for sharing this video, Rebecca. It reminds me of how often I was in the English department at my graduate school the only woman of color–often the only Puerto Rican–in the room, and how different I felt when I found myself in classes with more people of color. One semester I taught a class and I was the only person of color in the whole room. I will never forget when I realized it, and how I felt time stop even if for just a minute.


    • When that student said that, I cried. “Then, you know, one of us could have been the Angry Black Woman, and someone else could have been the Not-As Angry…” like she didn’t even have the luxury of being reduced to a slightly less pernicious stereotype. It was wrenching. And yet the treatment of PoC under the law now makes perfect sense. When there is no diversity IN the law, minorities are expendable under the law.


  2. Way back in the 90s, California voters passed a referendum banning affirmative action in all government processes, including UC graduate school admissions. The next fall–almost as if by magic!–the state’s top public law schools went from having a moderately OK diversity to admitting maybe 1 black student. I don’t remember the details! But the state and its voters haven’t seemed to care too much to dial back the shit rhetoric (and policies) about how affirmative action is unfair to white people. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know how much prop 209 is still affecting admissions to UC law schools, but we clearly need extra-legal remedies to this massive structural problem.


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